Convention News & Notes

2016 National Convention Cash Contributors - WOW!


Early on in the planning of this year’s NGC convention, it was reported that the goal is to make it the WOW CONVENTION…And, to make that happen, requires the support of many members. We are proud to share with you this impressive list of cash contributors.

Salute the Talents of Bob Friese'


Bob Friese

To accomplished floral designers, their individual designs are as recognizable and powerful, as their personal signature. This aptly describes the designs of Robert (Bob) Friese’ who has volunteered to serve as the official staging director of the 2016 NGC National Convention. Bob, AIFD, CFD, has been, for more than 50 years, sharing his knowledge and artistry supporting the floral industry. Just last year, he was inducted into the Michigan Floral Foundation’s Hall of Fame.

From a beginning of teaching and mentoring students at his floral school in Chicago, Bob has been active in garden clubs and in the Great Lakes Floral Expo. He is well respected for the classes he teaches at conferences and in his home studio northwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As the official in charge of convention staging, you will find his “signature” designs and exhibits throughout the meeting venues. Look for that “signature” design display from a welcoming interpretive designs to the garden gazebo at the evening awards banquet.

Thanks Bob, you are contributing to making this a WOW Convention to remember.


A WOW presentation on Pollination


As you are finalizing your Convention registration and debating the seminars you plan to register is something you might consider. As a garden club member, you must be interested in the food we eat, the flowers you arrange, then you must be engaged in pollination. You may likely be planning to attend Dr. Meghan Milbrath's seminar titled More flowers, more food: The Pollinator-plant partnership. (May 6 4:00 to 5:00 P.M.). She is the Coordinator at MSU's Pollinator Initiative.

While not specific to her presentation, here is a clip that helps describe the role of the pollinator -- titled "The Beauty of Pollination.” It give a unique presentation about bats, bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Be sure to watch this on the largest computer screen you have (HD if possible) and have your sound turned on. The hummingbird doing rolls chasing a bee is not to be missed. Be sure and watch closely (around 2 min 40 sec) and check out the baby bat under its mother. Unreal. If you never knew what goes on in the garden when you aren't paying attention, watch this - some of the finest photography you will ever see.

Finally remember the deadline for your Convention Registration is April 1, less than one month away.



Destination Grand Rapids


The New York Times has listed Grand Rapids, your 2016 convention city, as one of the top 52 places to visit this year. In fact Grand Rapids was ranked at number 20 among, “our top destinations to visit this year,” reports the Times. For the whole story click here: The New York Times 52 Places to Go in 2016

This is a “Quick Read”   from the story:

Grand Rapids Michigan  -- A furniture-making city champions urban renewal and art.       The early 20th-century furniture companies Herman Miller and Steelcase established a creative community in central Michigan’s Grand Rapids, one now flourishing thanks to a confluence of urban revival and arts funding. The 138,000-square-foot food hall Grand Rapids Downtown Market, built using repurposed materials from the dilapidated buildings it replaced, earned LEED-gold certification in 2014, and enticed a branch of Detroit-famed Slows Bar-B-Q to open last summer alongside bakers and other food-focused start-ups. For three weeks each fall, the city’s contemporary art competition ArtPrize attracts more than 1,500 works and awards $500,000 in prizes. Artists from Auguste Rodin to Ai Weiwei stake the 158-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which recently added a Japanese garden with works by Anish Kapoor and Jenny Holzer. Don’t leave thirsty; over 40 craft breweries line the city’s ale trail.

Register for the convention and come visit GR – Number 20 and a list of 52. And, while you are here, enjoy tours that will further help introduce you to this “destination city.”

Chef's Surprise!


Be sure to read to the end for your (Chef’s Surprise)

On Tuesday of our Convention, Chef Josef M. Huber will present an interesting program titled “From the ‘Garden to the Table” so we thought we would offer you a “little” surprise of our own.  But first here is a “bit” of information on Chef Huber.

He is the corporate executive chef of the AHC+ Hospitality in Grand Rapids. He oversees a team of more than 100 professional culinary operations for three luxury hotels including the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Chef Huber will be presenting a world-class culinary demonstration (minimum attendance required) and provide taste-tempting samples.  Chef Huber is known for combining multi-ethnic cuisine with traditional cooking to bring forth a tour-de-force for the palate. His recipes have been featured in a wide range of publications around the world.

Now for the “little surprise”

The French restaurant, Le Petit Chef, came up with an original way to entertain guests while waiting for their orders. 

By using a projector on the ceiling and animation on the table, there appears to be a small chef who prepares a meal on your plate. A great way to cheer up the guests.

We cannot surprise you as they do in the video, but we can promise an interesting, enlightening and delicious morning program.

A Salute to Our Corporate Sponsor


Vice Chair Carol Brodbeck reports that Espoma has signed on as a key corporate sponsor for the National Garden Club Inc. 87th Annual Convention to be held in May 2016. She says this is a great opportunity for Espoma and other sponsors to promote their business to more than 170,000 garden club members.

To learn more about Espoma, go to their website, and see why Espoma has been a natural in the garden since 1929.

Check out our new sponsor.

Committee Update


Your 2016 NGC Convention team is moving forward and presented the complete plan and proposed budget at the NGC Fall Board Meeting in St. Louis Sept. 16-19. The Team includes  (L-R): vice chairmen Sharon Yantis and Carol Broadbeck; Sandy Robinson, NGC National President; and Marg McGoff, team chairperson.

NEXT Stop: Central Regional Meeting in Iowa City, Iowa in early October.

Check out their photo!

Planning Continues


Marge McGoff and Sharon Yantis continue their planning for the Regional Meeting, budget preparation, and the convention next May, just nine months away. They hold frequent meetings whenever, including Sunday evening in Lansing.

Check out their photo!

Meet the Committee


The Michigan contingent of delegates and attendees to the 2015 National Convention (Louisville, KY) will be extending an invitation to the 2016 NGC National convention in Grand Rapids. This convention will be held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel between May 2 and May 6. The overall theme of the convention is "Bloomin On The Grand."

Chairing this contingent to the upcoming convention in Kentucky is Marge McGoff and supporting her in the leadership team are: Sharon Yantis (vice chair and responsible for speakers and programs); Carol Brodbeck, (fundraising including donations and gifts in support of the convention); Dolores Stouwie (chairman of invitational designs); Sherry Sanelli (responsible for the design program and staging of 10 creative designs); Bob Friese, (responsible for the grand welcome entrance, staging for major events including Awards night, and business meeting); Ann Todd, (the off-site executive dinner).

Continue to watch this site for the most current updates, and be sure to volunteer to help make the 2016 National Convention a major success.

"Of course," McGoff says, "we are receiving outstanding support and cooperation from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (Danielle Sideck) and (Tim Nelson) Experience Grand Rapids (visitors and convention bureau) along with the National Garden Clubs staff and other behind-the-scenes people."

Check out some photos from their visit.